E-commerce in the Baltic States. What are the Shopping Habits of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians?

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E-commerce in the Baltic States. What are the Shopping Habits of Lithuanians, Latvians and Estonians?d-tags
15 January 2023
The Baltic States is the term used for three small countries located on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea: Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. Today the area has a total population of over 6 million people. These 3 countries have strong cultural, historical and political connections. In this entry, I will present to you the e-commerce market in each of these countries indicating the similarities and differences between them.

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Countries with Potential!

When it comes to the growing European economies, most of us would indicate Germany, France or the United Kingdom. These are, of course, some of the most attractive countries for investors setting up new companies. However, it turns out that starting up a business in the Baltic States can be a hit!

Estonia

Estonia is one of the smallest European countries but in recent years it has been developing very dynamically. Do you need an example? Taxify (currently known as Bolt). Founded in 2013 and based in Tallinn, the company now operates in 35 countries. It is estimated that as many as 30 million people use this platform worldwide. Among other Estonian brands that have achieved global success, it is worth mentioning Toggle, Skype and TransferWise. Interestingly, Estonia ranks 6th in Europe in terms of ease of doing business and is also the country with the highest quality cybersecurity. So is the e-commerce market in Estonia doing well? Of course! In this small country with just over a million inhabitants, there are as many as 5,000 online stores!

Latvia

Latvia is definitely no less attractive country for investors and entrepreneurs. Currently, electronics is the fastest-growing e-commerce industry in Latvia. It is estimated that in 2019 its annual value was 120 mln USD. In Latvia, brands such as Aerone and Cenos were born.

Lithuania

The start-up market is developing there at an impressive pace with an annual growth rate of 4%. Currently, the most recognizable Lithuanian start-up is the MailerLite brand. Other well-known companies based in Lithuania include XtGem or TransferGo. Just like in Estonia and Latvia, the e-commerce market in Lithuania seems really promising. The annual growth rate is estimated at 7.9%.

Shopping Habits

Estonia

Estonians are more and more eager to shop online. Of course, as in many other countries, international e-commerce platforms such as AliExpress or Amazon are well known in Estonia. It is worth noting, however, that customers in this small country prefer to support the local market rather than the foreign one. More than 40% of Estonians order products only at local shops (source: ecommercenews.eu). As e-commerce in this country is becoming a part of daily life, Estonians more often make online transactions. And what's the result of that? The decrease of the average online transaction amount. In 2017, the average online order in Estonia was 40 euros, while in 2019 - only 33 euros. Estonians most often buy online: concert tickets, cinema or theatre tickets, clothes and sport equipment.

 Latvia

At the end of 2018 as many as 98% of households with children had access to the Internet (source: csb.gov.lv) - thanks to this, an increasing number of people decide to shop online. So what products do they choose? Electronics is the most popular, besides that Latvians often order clothes, toys, furniture and food. Let's check out the most visited e-commerce platforms in Latvia:
  1. ss.lv
  2. 1a.lv
  3. amazon.de
  4. ebay.co.uk
  5. amazon.co.uk
(source: webinterpret.com) Unfortunately, the problem that negatively affects the development of online sales in Latvia (as well as in Lithuania) is the relatively long delivery time. 40% of Latvians claim that delivery takes too much time and because of that they often decide to shop in brick and mortar shops. Another negative aspect of the e-commerce market in this country, reported by 35% of people, is the lack of sufficient information in online shops about a product or service, as well as payment or delivery method (source: gemius.com).

Lithuania

Lithuanians quickly and rather easily switch to using the new mobile services, that's why many people in this country use payment cards, electronic signatures and online banking. Lithuanians also love to go online to find some goods. And what do they choose usually? Above all, they buy: clothes, tickets for various types of events, personal and household goods and food. The most popular e-commerce platforms in Lithuania are:
  1. skelbiu.lt
  2. aliexpress.com
  3. pigu.lt
  4. alio.lt
  5. ebay.com
(source: webinterpret.com)

Internet Users

The Baltic States fit perfectly into the global trend. Each year, the number of Internet users in all of these countries increases. Let's compare, for example, what was the situation there in 2016: in Lithuania 69.88% of the population used the Internet, in Latvia it was very similar - 69.93%, while in Estonia - 76.57%. It is estimated that by 2022 in Estonia and Latvia the number of active internet users will increase by 3%, while in Lithuania by 4% (source: statista.com).

 Social Media

Lithuania  Latvia Estonia
1. Facebook (59,98%) Facebook (64,95%) Facebook (52,73%)
2. Pinterest (17,17%) Pinterest (12,03%) Pinterest (14,95%)
3. Twitter (8,56%) Twitter (11,48%) Instagram (13,86%)
4. Instagram (7,87%) Instagram (7,27%) Twitter (12,29%)
5. YouTube (4,75%) YouTube (2,72%) YouTube (3,07%)
6. Tumblr (0,73%) Tumblr (0,61%) VKontakte (1,32%)
The 6 most popular social media in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in March 2020 (source: gs.statcounter.com) As the above table shows, in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia Facebook is the most popular social media.  As you can see, Pinterest is extremely popular in the Baltic States, whereas in other European countries it is not such an influential social media. What's interesting, one of the most popular social media in Estonia is VKontakte, the Russian version of Facebook. This is mainly due to the fact that in this country Russians are the most numerous national minority (24% of the total population of Estonia). So if you want to achieve great success in the Baltic States, you should focus on marketing campaigns primarily on Facebook, followed by Pinterest, Twitter and Instagram.

Payment Methods

Definitely the most preferred payment method in Estonia and Lithuania is mobile payment (48% and 51% respectively), while Latvians are most likely to use credit cards (43% market share). Mainly, these two forms of payment are widely used in the Baltic States. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia - payment methods What's surprising, Latvians and Lithuanians practically never choose to use prepaid cards (only 1% in both countries). It is worth noting that in the Baltic States (just like in other European countries) consumers tend to use more eagerly electronic wallets - each year more and more people choose this payment method. Currently in the Baltic States e-wallets constitute about 10% of the market.

Mobile Apps and Websites

Lithuania  Latvia Estonia
1. Google (95,87%) Google (96,12%) Google (96,21%)
2. bing (2,21%) YANDEX RU (1,43%) bing (1,26%)
3. Yahoo! (0,99%) bing (1,22%) YANDEX RU (1,09%)
Desktop vs mobile vs tablet market share in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in March 2020, source: gs.statcounter.com In the Baltic States, customers are becoming much more willing to use mobile devices for online shopping. However, desktop devices remain dominant in these countries - Estonians, Latvians and Lithuanians are more likely to choose desktops than mobile devices. So if you are planning to become successful in the Baltic market, you should have a functional and intuitive website that is compatible with both desktop and mobile devices. As statistics from recent months show, the number of mobile users is constantly increasing, that’s why we can assume that this trend will continue.

Search Engines

Lithuania  Latvia Estonia
1. Google (95,87%) Google (96,12%) Google (96,21%)
2. bing (2,21%) YANDEX RU (1,43%) bing (1,26%)
3. Yahoo! (0,99%) bing (1,22%) YANDEX RU (1,09%)
Top 3 Search Engines in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia in March 2020, source: gs.statcounter.com Google is already dominating in almost all the countries of the world.  Also in the Baltic States, practically all users choose this search engine. So if you are considering opening an online store in the Baltic States, all SEO activities should be Google-oriented> - bing, YANDEX RU and Yahoo! practically have no power there.

Are you Planning to Make Investments in the Baltic States? Discover what Markets have a Future There!

Estonia

As I have already mentioned, Estonia stands out from other European countries when it comes to cybersecurity. So if you are looking for a company offering high quality IT services, Estonia will be a good choice. What industries have a future in Estonia?
  • fintech,
  • software houses,
  • cybersecurity,
  • energetics,
  • marine industries,
  • mechanical engineering.
(source: investinestonia.com)

Latvia

Interestingly, Latvia is one of the 10 countries in the world with the fastest internet. This encouraged local entrepreneurs to focus on offering online services. Today, the fastest growing sectors are:
  • engineering,
  • start-up,
  • transport and logistics,
  • MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferencing, Exhibitions) tourism.
(source: investincentraleurope.com)

Lithuania

Lithuanians are certainly a nation with which you can communicate easily. The country's inhabitants are famous for their multilingualism - 90% of Lithuanians speak at least one foreign language. The most popular foreign languages in Lithuania are Russian, English, French and German. This makes Lithuania an interesting direction for entrepreneurs starting their own companies. The most promising markets in Lithuania are:
  • medical services,
  • tourism,
  • biotechnology,
  • IT.
(source: lctt.pollub.pl)

Summary

The e-commerce market in the Baltic States is developing dynamically. Each year, the number of regular internet users increases. If you consider setting up a business in the region, Estonia turns out to be a particularly interesting market. At first glance, this small European country doesn't seem to be a perfect place to invest, however, Estonians prove to be experts in technology, IT and cybersecurity. Latvia, however, is a perfect place for start-ups. So if you are thinking of starting a new business or planning to expand into foreign markets, the Baltic States are worth exploring! If you need help with international SEO services let us know!
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Author
Wojtek

Author
Author
Wojtek

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Award - Deloitte 2021 Award - European eCommerce Awards 2022 Award - European Search Awards 2022 Award - Global Agency Awards 2022 Award - IPMA Award - US Search Awards 2021

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